Traffic accidents in Israel are defined by many as a “National Calamity”. Every day we encounter them on our way to work or on our way home, while driving on the road and through the news channels that report the serious accidents. We usually assume that the accident occurred as a result of a collision between two vehicles, but also in cases where pedestrians, cyclists or other passengers in the vehicle were injured, or when the vehicle swerves from its lane and collides with a stationary object, is defined as a traffic accident.
Each of us may find himself involved in a traffic accident every day. We know very well that we must photograph the damage, exchange details with the other driver and call an ambulance or the police if necessary, but what action should we take in order to receive compensation after being involved in an accident and what is really important to know about the process?
What Does the Law State?
The Compensation to Victims of Traffic Accidents Law is a state law, according to which, any person injured in a traffic accident is entitled to monetary compensation for bodily harm, regardless of his/her responsibility for causing the accident. This is why every driver is obligated to have a mandatory insurance – so he/she can sue the insurance company in the event of an accident. If the victim is one of the passengers in the vehicle, he will have to sue the company that insures the vehicle in which the ride took place.
If the victim is a pedestrian, he/she must sue the insurance company of the driver who hit him/her.
An additional law that should be noted in this context is the statute of limitations in the State of Israel, which has power up to 7 years. If 7 years have passed since the accident, it is no longer possible to file a lawsuit and receive compensation, except in exceptional and very special cases, in which damage is retroactively discovered as a result of the accident and at a later date than the date of its occurrence.
Formulation of a Compensation Claim for Victims of Traffic Accidents
The best and most important tip is to wait with the claim and not rush to file it immediately after the accident. This is because physical damage caused to us may be hidden during the period following the accident and may be detected or worsened later, sometimes only after a few months.
Therefore, our recommendation is to wait until the formulation of the medical circumstances: The amount of compensation is set by the extent of the damage caused, and therefore it is worthwhile to get fully and thoroughly checked until your medical situation formulates into clear conclusions. At this time, it is recommended to start collecting any relevant medical document and store the information in a dependable place. This will also enable you to document your current situation and also to prove the connection between your current medical condition and the injury that occurred during the accident. It is important to contact a traffic accidents lawyer from the very first moment in order to receive suitable advice and guidance that will help you collect documentation and paperwork and know how to deal with the various entities.
Caution, Insurance Company
The insurance companies are the most challenging obstacle that traffic accidents victims face and the conduct against them requires explicit and precise instructions from the lawyer handling your claim. It should be remembered that insurance companies are driven by economic power, like any other company. Therefore, they are interested in keeping their money and they implement a policy designed to back it up. In many cases, the victims meet an investigator on behalf of the insurance company, whose purpose is to clarify the victim’s current situation and to extract information that may “play” for the company’s benefit. Be aware of this and be careful. Avoid giving personal information to unknown factors and instruct family members not to cooperate with these investigators, who will try to extract relevant information from them as well.
The insurance company may also try to convince the court judges that the damage caused to the victims is far less severe than it really is. That was the case with eight-year-old Lital, who got out of her mother’s car so she could park in reverse. But the car’s reverse movement was incorrect and Lital’s hand was crushed between the wall that bordered with the parking lot and the vehicle. Lital had to undergo several operations and a get finger implant, rehabilitative treatments and, of course, daily assistance for her continued functioning. This is in addition to severe pain, scars and limited mobility as a result of the pain.
The insurance company claimed that Lital had no functional problem and that in any case, it’s her left hand and it is not dominant. The judge rejected this claim and ruled for compensation in the sum of 455,000 ILS in Lital’s favor, covering the payment made by Lital’s parents on lawyer’s fees (59,000 ILS) and court expenses.
One of the most horrific accidents is hitting another person and abandoning the area without providing assistance to the victim or taking responsibility for the accident. Who can be sued in this situation?
Hit-and-run accidents are defined as serious offenses and are punishable by heavy penalties. If the responsible persons are caught or whose details have been taken by witnesses in the area, the Israel Police can locate them and file a claim to the insurance company that insures them. However, if the identity of the offender remains anonymous up to the stage of filing the claim, the claim is filed to the “Karnit” corporation, which replaces the insurance company on behalf of the state and is the entity, by which the compensation will be paid.
Drivers, who drive away from the scene, are traffic criminals for all intents and purposes, and the reason for their escape is apparently related to other offenses they have committed: Driving while disqualified, driving without a license, driving without the permission of the owner (a minor’s parents, for example), a stolen vehicle, driving without test, etc.
In all these cases, the driver’s insurance company will in fact refuse to compensate the victims since their policy is not valid.
Therefore, in any case where injury occurred as a result of a hit-and-run accident, please contact Adv. Miskevich – traffic accidents lawyer’s office and receive instructions and details from him, including accompaniment and representation throughout the lawsuit filing process. It should be noted that in the event that the claim is submitted to “Karnit”, it is necessary to prove that it is indeed a hit-and-run accident, and that the vehicle’s details, the identity of the driver or the details of the insurance company could not be obtained in any way. Even this time, the victim will be “entitled” to a visit by an investigator on behalf of the corporation, who will try to find out whether this is really a hit-and-run accident or an accident of a different type, and whether the victim really knows nothing about those who harmed him, their identity or their vehicle’s details.
Pedestrians – Who is responsible for compensating?
When the traffic light turned red and the bus stopped, one of the passengers remembered that he forgot something at the stop, from which he just got up. He asked the bus driver to let him come out but the driver refused. The two argued, the passenger opened the bus door by himself and was hit by a passing vehicle in less than half a second after getting off. Should the victim be seen as a passenger on the bus and sue the bus company, or as a pedestrian and sue the other vehicle’s driver?
The elderly holocaust survivor carefully loaded the groceries from the shopping cart into the car’s trunk at the supermarket’s parking lot with his wife. At the same time, another car hit the shopping cart and it hit the old man and threw him at his wife’s car, severely injuring him and leaving him permanently disabled. Will the insurance company of the owner of the parking car be responsible? Or will the other driver’s insurance company be responsible?
In both cases, it was determined that the victims are defined as pedestrians at the time of the accident, and therefore the insurance companies of the drivers, who hit the victims, will bear responsibility for the compensation. At the same time, it is important to remember that these questionable proofs, which are discussed in court, cannot be conducted without a lawyer representing your personal interests and working for you, even when there is a need to find out who to sue.
Attorneys of our office are experienced traffic accidents lawyers, who strive to achieve the highest and most fair compensation for his clients while managing lawsuit files in the highest level of professionalism.
*The above article is by no means a legal advice; any use of this information is solely under the reader’s responsibility.